Mo’s laptop is playing up, perhaps terminally (sounds suitably computerish), so I’m in charge of all my photos this week.  She’s preparing to be horrified but, ever the optimist, I’m hoping for delectation and delight….

However, there seems to have been a glitch at my end as well and because the featured pic, which should appear at the top of the blog, has not materialised for some reason, the piece is even more baffling than usual!  Anyway, here is the missing photo, which should explain a lot.

My sister, being a proper professional player, has a practice net at home – and judging from various social media posts, so do some of my golfing friends.  Having a small space, I have to improvise and the rug is one of my aids; beating it is how I try to improve my follow-through – or some such.  It’s a pretty aged rug but is looking surprisingly bright and perky in the shutdown sunshine.  And my powder-puff efforts do it no damage.

My practice aid.

So far no damage to my back either.  They say that there are two sorts of people in the world:  those with backs and those without.  Those of us with just have to learn to manage and not get too cocky if we have a bit of a run without any major problems.  Don’t laugh but it was hurdling that did for my back, hard though that is to imagine.  I can’t run at all now but back in the day I was quite fast – no stamina but, at a lowly level, speedy-ish.  The mistake was sticking the hurdles in the equation.  I was reminded of that the other day when I tried washing my feet in the basin and had great difficulty making the carry.

No, I decided to highlight Esther Gokhale’s back bible because of a decision to reduce my to-do list to two items; this revelation came to me the other day as I was walking across the park to pick up the sainted Alice for her afternoon walk.  I was gratified to read later that it’s an approach recommended by all sorts of psychologists and well-being, mindfulnessy experts.  So, not such a daft idea after all and the second thing on my list was to take one of Esther’s courses.

She’s based in California but she used to travel the globe and many years ago I signed up for a course with her, in London.  It was a three-day thing and I was within a couple of hundred yards of the venue when I got a call saying the weekend had been cancelled.  Gobsmacked wasn’t in it but no amount of indignation could change the fact that there would be no benefiting from Esther’s expertise face to face.  She had, I suspect, been turned back at the airport for not having the right visa; she’d probably said she was coming in to teach a course instead of saying she was visiting friends.  The only good thing, such as it was, was that the rate of exchange had changed and I got back a few more pounds than I’d paid out.

Who needs an excuse to use this picture? This lad is a carpenter in Burkina Faso and even though he works at a low bench, his posture is perfect, no stooping or hunching.  What’s our excuse?

Esther’s big thing is posture and sitting reading, sitting at a computer, peering at a small phone screen scrolling through endless WhatsApps, leaning over the basin, riding the bike, poking at the Zoom buttons, all those things have been playing merry hell with my body – dowager’s hump, turtle neck, it’s all there.  Something must be done before it’s too late.

Esther’s husband was obviously paying attention:  he’s 28 in the pic on the left and 48 on the right.  Have I got another 20 years to straighten myself out?

And, lo, the next day an email dropped into my inbox telling me about a free, online workshop to learn the basics of the Gokhale Method, taught by Clare Chapman in Bristol.  I signed up immediately and now my to-do list just has the one thing on it.  Apart from reading the 8 Steps.

Of course, non-essentials keep interfering with the good intentions littering my road to hell and I was so diverted that I got out my tool box (small but perfectly formed, a pressie from my brother-in-law) and headed for my bijou bathroom.  There, with a real sense of smug satisfaction, I took the doors off the cabinet under the sink.  They are now in the shed waiting to go to a good home once there’s free movement of doors again.  I really, really, really wanted to remove the sink as well and be rid of the whole unit but I’m not yet stir-crazy enough to have forgotten my limitations.  Give me time…..

[No photograph of bathroom available…by order]

On the golf front there’s been talk of whether this year’s Ryder Cup, scheduled for Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in September, should go ahead without spectators.  There’s only one answer to that and it’s NO.  No way.  Absolutely not.

Lots of golf tournaments chug along perfectly happily without too many people watching and players get used to playing in a bit of a vacuum.  There’ll be a few diehard fans watching every shot of every round on telly, admiring swathes of green grass and some well-honed swings and the television money means that the dearth of feet on the ground at a tournament is not a catastrophe.  That would not be the case at the Ryder Cup.

No fans, no point.

The fans are the lifeblood of the Ryder Cup.  They make it what it is and the atmosphere transforms the players, who hit shots that nobody can believe and when they look back at the pictures, both still and moving, they’re astonished by their reactions.  Is that me?  Did I really do that?

Would that happen with nobody there?  Not a chance.

To finish, another photo from the archives:  Dai, on the right, talking to Bob Charles, the New Zealand left-hander who won the Open in 1963.